Rock Radio Scrapbook


CHUM-FM Toronto
October 21, 1971

(Graphic courtesy John Donabie)

(Larger view here)

It was a different time.

A time when announcers programmed their own music. A time when a song was played because the deejay or music director - or even the listeners - liked it, not because some focus group thousands of miles away "approved it". A time when you could hear a rock tune, a jazz piece, a classical opus, and maybe some folk music all in the same set. A time of long music sets, rather than lengthy commercial sets.

It was a time when announcers just talked to the audience - one-on-one - rather than regurgitating liner notes. A time when one skilled communicator could carry an entire show, rather than a team of self-described "zany" types known as a "Morning Zoo." A time of intelligent rap and gentle wit, rather than shouting. A time when there was an actual living and breathing person in the studio all the time, not a machine. A time when stations were programmed locally, not from head office.

This was progressive rock radio in its early days. Back in the late '60s, this new brand of radio emerged - one that broke all the rules. And one of the first stations to program this "album rock" format - some called it "underground" radio - was Toronto's CHUM-FM. Debuting on July 1, 1968 it was truly memorable in its early days, playing album cuts not heard anywhere else and with outstanding personalities like Pete Griffin, Walter Michaels, Larry Green, Tim Thomas, Kim Calloway, Hugh Currie, David Pritchard, Benji Karsh, Reiner Schwartz, Dave Marsden and John Donabie.

Pritchard was CHUM-FM's all-night man in the early years of that station's progressive rock format. He later went on to become program director of yet another legendary progressive rock station, Toronto's CFNY. His death on February 27, 2005 was sad news for all of those who remembered him, either on or off the air.

On October 21, 1971, Pritchard hung around after his shift to talk on-air to CHUM-FM morning man Pete Griffin and you can hear the results here.

(The Gary Pfieffer Collection)

More 1971 airchecks here!

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